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Substance abuse creates a vicious circle of “want” which is difficult to forego. This “want” becomes so fierce that it makes a person indulge in substances with an increased vigor with every passing day, without realizing the adverse consequences. Substance abuse affects people in all walks of life without creating any biasness of caste, creed, age, gender or financial status.

Whatever be the reason of engaging in this gruesome behavior, tolerance and dependency develops quickly, even before the user realizes that he or she is developing an addiction habit. The consistent use of drugs and alcohol can cause a number of negative effects on the mind and body, which can vary from person to person. However, each indulgence does display some symptoms eventually, which can be either physical or psychological, or both.

A repeated abuse of substances can give rise to dependency and the most noticeable symptoms can be the ones that occur in the body’s inner workings. A person starts developing tolerance to a drug if it is abused long enough, and the body needs increased strength to absorb more of it. In a bid to get more of the drug, sometimes the body succumbs to its adverse effects. A person who is addicted to any substance shows marked changes in his physical appearance. Some of the common sighs are abrupt weight changes, dilated or constricted pupils, glazed eyes, shivering, etc. However, long-term addiction can cause significant heart and organ dysfunctions.

Substance abuse can also cause psychological changes that alter the brain’s ability to process thoughts. An addict also shows marked changes in his behavior, which can sometimes lead to self-harm, or even confronting and harming others. Increased aggression, depression, fear, anxiety, irritability, lethargy are some of the common psychological symptoms.

The symptoms of substance abuse can vary according to the substance consumed because each drug has its own manifestations of effects.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Tolerance to alcohol is directly proportional to the amount consumed. The longer a person abuses alcohol, the higher is his dependency on it. Precisely, there are four levels of alcoholism — social, heavy, problem and dependent. Each level increases the risk to a shattered life eventually, regardless of the quantity consumed.

Some signs of alcohol abuse are:

  • Temporary blackouts or memory loss
  • Aggressive behavior and recurrent arguments with family, friends and colleagues
  • Lack of interest in appearance, work or relationship
  • Continuing use of alcohol and planning the next drink or recovering from the previous one
  • Hiding or denying the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite and preferring a drink to a meal


Signs of Drug Abuse

Drug abuse may be an unintentional activity of fun, or a dependence triggered by a medication prescribed to a patient, a forced activity undertaken due to peer pressure or plain simple curiosity. But, over time, dependency on the drug increases, which ultimately leads an individual to get addicted to it. Some of the warning signs are:

  • Blood-shot eyes and decrease in weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Being fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason
  • Seeming to be abnormally energetic, revved up, high or sedated

Some of the common symptoms of commonly abused drugs are:

  • Marijuana: Red eyes, lack of focus, inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness, distorted perceptions, weight gain or loss, misjudging time and fast heart rate.
  • Heroin: Contracted pupils, low breathing, needle marks, sleeping at unusual times, sweating and nausea, vomiting, disorientation and loss of appetite.
  • Depressants: Dizziness, slurred speech, visual disturbances, dilated pupils, difficulty concentrating, clumsiness, impaired judgment, sleepiness and lowered blood pressure.
  • Stimulants (including amphetamines, cocaine and crystal meth): Hyperactivity, delusions, irritability, anxiety, weight loss, dry mouth, sweating, and spending long periods without eating or sleeping.
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP): Bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression, delusion, dilated pupils, mood swings, detachment from family and friends, confusion, reckless thoughts and slurred speech.

However, changes in appearance can be additional clues to drug abuse. Not all of these signs appear in every individual, but some of them do occur and also recur as warning signs. Such symptoms should not be ignored and medical help should be sought immediately.

Finding Help

Substance abuse needs treatment. There’s no two ways about it. People, who abuse drugs or are addicted to it, generally tend to deny the problem and avoid treatment. But, sooner one seeks help, the greater the chances of a long-term recovery.

The key to a substance-free life is to enroll in a comprehensive treatment program in a certified medical facility. Treatment facilities might be many, but finding the right treatment center is a task altogether. We, at Arizona Substance Abuse Helpline assist in finding the best treatment facility covering tailor-made recovery plans that suit every individual. If you or a loved one is showing the signs or symptoms of substance abuse and has questions, please do not hesitate to chat online or call us at 866-857-5777Our qualified representatives will be happy to take your queries and help you in taking the step toward a finer life.

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